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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:06 pm 
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One of my first extensions to my lens collection this macro (Nikon calls it micro as it goes "only" to 1:1 magnification) has now deserved a review here. Especially after the shootout with the Sigma 150/2.8 macro where it came in a close second with regard to sharpness. But there is more to this lens then just excellent sharpness and this may make it the preferred choice over the Sigma.

This review will build up over some time. So be patient and stay with me in another effort to bring more light to the quality of lenses for your Nikon system.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:24 pm 
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Now let's get over with the Siemens-star sharpness test first. You'll see 100% crops from the center and the corner of the test-target at apertures ranging from f/11 to f/2.8. All shot from a tripod with VR=off and I used AF for focus. Micro-AF adjustment was set to 0.

Center performance
.......................f/11.....................................f/8.0.....................................f/5.6.....................................f/4.0.....................................f/2.8:
Image Image Image Image Image

Corner performance
.......................f/11.....................................f/8.0.....................................f/5.6.....................................f/4.0.....................................f/2.8:
Image Image Image Image Image

Well, this is excellent performance, center and corner! Really, I've seldom seen 100% crops that vary this little between fully open and f/11! You could believe those crops are all made at the same aperture 8)

The Sigma AF 150mm 2.8 EX DG APO HSM IF macro is just a tad sharper as can be seen here :shock:

You can also use a tele-converter to extend the reach of the lens and get down to even 1.5:1 magnification (real "macro" in nikon lingo), but I can assure you: I tested the Kenko 1.5x converter there and it works very good, but in the end you're better off magnifying your image 1.5x by post-processing.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:59 pm 
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Here are the main facts from the catalog:
Size: 83x116mm w/o lens-hood = nice size :) 21mm shorter than the Sigma 150/2.8 but same length with lens-hood mounted
Weight: 810g w/o caps and collar but including lens-hood = very "bearable" but only a little lighter than the Sigma 150/2.8
Optics: 14 elements in 12 groups = much too much for a fixed focal :( but 2 lenses less than the Sigma 150/2.8
Closest focus distance/max.magnification: 31cm / 1:1 :D
Filter-thread: 62mm = small and cheap :)
VR = very good :D
AF-S: does work on D40/x/D60-bodies :D , manual-focus override by turning the focus ring :D
Covers full frame/FX or smaller = normal :)
Comes with cheap pouch :?
Price: around 740€ new = quite expensive, 160€ more than the Sigma :(
The front- and rearlens-caps Nikon style :D
Distance information is relayed to the camera, so the Nikon body can do all the advanced exposure-related stuff with this lens :D
Aperture ring = no, just like any Nikon G-lens :?
lens-shade included and revertable for transport :)
Tripod-collar = no :( well, it's not such a heavy lens that you really need one.
Limiter switch: Yes, with two positions: "full" or 50cm to infinity :)
Sealing: yes :) unlike the Sigma macros

Alternatives are all without image stabilization :( :
- The Sigma 150/2.8 macro: a very good choice, see my review. It has 45% more reach thus might be too long for landscapes. On the other side gives you a greater distance to your subject :?
- The Tamron 90/2.8 Di SP macro: cheap and good, see review here
- The Sigma 105/2.8 EX DG macro: cheap and good, see review there
- The Nikon 105/2.0 DC: excellent sharpness plus Defocus Control plus f/2.0 aperture. But only 1:7.7 magnification and 20% more expensive :(

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Last edited by Thomas on Thu Aug 28, 2008 10:33 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 6:09 pm 
Thomas wrote:
Price: around 740€ new = quite expensive, 160€ more than the Sigma :(


It's around 620 Euro equivalent (£495) in the UK. The price difference to the Sigma in the UK is negligable and in one place I know the Sigma is strangely more expensive than the Nikkor.

I think you've missed out that it has 9 diaphragm blades.

Thanks for the crops.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Hm yes, the Nikon and the Sigma both have 9 aperture blades :D
With regard to price:
1. I didn't quote the lowest price but the lowest price from a reputable dealer
2. It is including 19% VAT
Would be interesting to hear whether the price in UK is comparable, Photoj!?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:41 pm 
The price quoted is from a very reputable Nikon Professional dealership that solely deals with the brand and includes the UK's 17.5% VAT (I think I've mentioned it before - Grays of Westminster). The UK RRP is £599 (the price list for July can be found here) but the 105 VR can be picked up for less. Without doing an exhaustive search I know a local pro shop a mile from where I live that retails a genuine sourced AF-S 105mm 2.8 VR for £450 (565€).


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:49 pm 
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Ha, this is one of the rare examples where the UK prices are so attractive. Very good find! Pricegrabber UK only shows Amazon at 564GBP :(
And what is the price of the Sigma 150/2.8 macro over there? Pricegrabber gives 460GBP plus a sponsored link to a 360GBP offer. This would then translate into 580€ resp. 450€.

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Last edited by Thomas on Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:57 pm 
Here are some shops which are reputable and aren't on PriceGrabber with sub £500 prices for the Nikkor.

Cameraworld
WarehouseExpress

I stand corrected having searched more thoroughly that the Sigma is significantly less. Links below to sub-£300 offers.

TWO REMOVED LINKS

EDIT: I incorrectly identified links to the 105mm Sigma rather than the 150mm Sigma. The price point of the 150mm Sigma is comparable to the 105mm VR Nikkor and falls in line with my earlier post.


Last edited by Photoj on Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:04 pm 
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Wanna see some pictures?
Well the lens gallery has some nice examples here. And here are some more:

Thistle and fly:
Image

Thistle, bees and butterfly:
Image

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:06 pm 
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Ah, sorry Ed! Your links are for the Sigma 105mm, not the 150mm!
The 150mm is 460GBP at WarehouseExpress and Jacobs!

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:56 pm 
Ah, my bad. That explains why the prices were significantly less than I had in my mind. Yes, that does make the price points between the Nikkor and Sigma more sensical and in line with what I had in mind when I first replied to your thread.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:49 am 
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You said that the lens costs this much, 740€! You would happen to know what that is in us currency would you? I have been wanting a macro lens sense I got my 55-200mm lens! I just want stuff to play around with =) !!!

Well if you can't figure it out I will have to go check it out with my photography teacher! Yup thats right I am in a photography class at my high school!!! So far not to much pictures but he said after about 2 weeks! I CAN'T WAIT!!! Haha!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:07 am 
A dedicated macro lens isn't cheap. 740€ is approximately $1090 US. Will that wipe the smile from your face? But the 105mm VR is worth every penny from the isolated times I've used one.

And you can always take photos outside of class.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 8:39 am 
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The lens is 750-900US$!
Search through this pricegrabber link and support Camera Labs: http://cameralabs.pgpartner.com/
It's always better to use the local price-search-engine than to calculate with the exchange rate. Esp. now with those wild Dollar/Euro-fluctuations and some strange pricing-strategies in the UK :?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 1:36 pm 
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-_-

I hate money issues!!!
I will have to go the local camera shop to see what they think I should get! I need more money. Haha!!!

Oh well!


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